MarkeTouch COVID-19 Clinical and Operations Pharmacy Newsletter (March 18)

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News and Notes from Around Pharmacy and Healthcare

The US is currently vaccinating around 2.2 million patients a day.

Almost 65% of Americans 65+ have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination.

Anyone 16 and older who lives or works in Alaska, Arizona or Mississippi is now eligible to be immunized against COVID-19, these states have waived eligibility requirements.

The state of Michigan stated it wanted to drop COVID vaccine eligibility requirements by April 5.

A new online survey from Glassdoor (Harris Poll) revealed that 7 in 10 U.S. employees who are currently working from home due to COVID-19 believe that workers should be required to get a vaccine in order to return to the office.

The CDC is considering cutting social distancing rules to three feet based on a study that found “no substantial difference” in COVID-19 cases in schools observing six-foot and three-foot rules.

Vaccine Updates

Novavax – A late-stage trial conducted in the UK shows that the Novavax vaccine is 96% effective in preventing cases caused by the original coronavirus version and 86% effective preventing cases caused by the UK variant.  The company also reports that there are no cases of severe illness or deaths among individuals who received the vaccine.

Moderna – Moderna and Baxter International have entered into a  vaccine production agreement involving production and supply packaging for approximately 60 – 90 million US doses.  Also Moderna announced that it has begun testing its COVID vaccine on children ages six months to 12 years and pregnant women. 

Pfizer – Pfizer’s vaccine was able to neutralize a new variant from Brazil.

Intranasal –  A host of nasal-delivery vaccines are being developed across the world, with clinical testing taking place in the UK, China, India and US.

Increasing Medicare Reimbursement Rates for COVID-19 Vaccines

Medicare reimbursement rates for COVID-19 vaccines administered on or after March 15, 2021 will be increasing.

The national average payment rate will be $40 to administer each dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This represents an increase from approximately $28 to $40 for the administration of single-dose vaccines, and an increase from approximately $45 to $80 for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines requiring two doses. The exact payment rate for administration of each dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will depend on the type of entity that furnishes the service and will be geographically adjusted based on where the service is furnished.

NCPDP Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccine Billing

The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) has developed guidance to support standardization within the claim adjudication process to address the unique factors associated with COVID-19 vaccines. While federal, state or local agencies may cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine product and its administration; reimbursement of the professional administration services will be coordinated through existing claim billing processes. All COVID-19 vaccine claims originating from a pharmacy will use standardized data elements outlined in the NCPDP emergency guidance. The guidance outlines claim information needed for both one and two-dose vaccines.

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